EPN In Action May-June 2020

 

Welcome to your EPN in Action Newsletter

The Environmental Protection Network was launched in January 2017 to harness the expertise of former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from multiple administrations to provide an informed and rigorous defense against efforts to undermine the protection of public health and the environment.

Highlights

  • EPN hosted a webinar on “Public Health in the Time of COVID-19, Racism, and Deregulation,” featuring EPN member Mustafa Santiago Ali, PhD, with remarks by Lynn Goldman, MD. See also EPN’s official statement on Racial Justice and Equality.

  • EPN testified and submitted comments on the draft risk evaluation for asbestos under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). EPN also testified and submitted comments on the draft risk evaluation for perchloroethylene (PERC) and submitted comments on the scoping documents of 20 high-priority chemicals under TSCA.

  • EPN testified and submitted comments in response to EPA’s proposal to retain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter.

  • EPN submitted comments on a proposed rulemaking about EPA guidance documents. EPN also commented on EPA’s supplemental notice to its proposed April 2018 “Censored Science” rulemaking and testified to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) on the proposed Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) revisions.

  • EPN testified to the SAB Economic Guidelines Review Panel on new Guidelines for Economic Analysis. EPN also contributed to a  joint report outlining steps that can be taken to restore science and protect the public health.

EPN’s Work on Racial and Environmental Justice

Racial Justice and Equality

EPN stands with and supports frontline communities and supports the fight for racial justice and equality as events surrounding the death of George Floyd and other people of color continue to unfold.

Racial and Environmental Justice In The News

The Environmental Justice Wake-Up Call

June 17, 2020 / by

Lisa Friedman /

The New York Times

Mustafa Santiago Ali, EPN member and former EPA Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization and Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice was quoted in this article regarding testimony he gave during a Congressional hearing entitled, “Pollution and Pandemics: COVID-19’s Disproportionate Impact on Environmental Justice Communities.” Mustafa was quoted in a similar article by Michigan Advance.

Environmental Injustice Is Even Worse Than We Thought

June 18, 2020 / by

David Coursen /

Resilience

David Coursen, EPN member and former attorney in EPA’s Office of General Counsel, penned this op-ed concerning the disproportionate share of pollution that occurs in low-wealth communities and communities of color.

Trump EPA’s Refusal to Strengthen Air Quality Standards Most Likely to Harm Communities of Color, Experts Say

June 12, 2020 / by

Dana Drugmand /

DeSmogBlog

Mustafa Santiago Ali, EPN member and former EPA Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization and Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice, was quoted in this article on the Trump administration’s decision to retain existing particulate matter standards and the harm it will have on communities of color.

EPN’s  Work on Toxic Substances

EPN Testifies on EPA’s Draft Risk Evaluation of Asbestos

EPN presented testimony on the draft risk evaluation of asbestos at a public virtual meeting of the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals. The testimony highlighted EPN’s objections to the process followed and the basis on which EPA conducted this risk evaluation.

EPN Submits Comments on EPA’s Draft Risk Evaluation of Asbestos

In response to EPA's request for public input on the draft risk evaluation of asbestos, EPN submitted comments pointing out ongoing concerns about the flawed TSCA review process, as well as highlighting instances where EPA failed to use the best available science. EPN concluded it is time for EPA to ban asbestos in all new U.S. commercial and consumer uses.

EPN Testifies on Draft Risk Evaluation of Perchloroethylene

On behalf of EPN, Gary Timm, former Chief, Chemical Testing Branch, EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, presented testimony on the draft risk evaluation of PERC, and Bob Sussman spoke on behalf of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families at a May 26-29 public peer review virtual meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals. Among EPN's significant concerns was an inadequate assessment of the effects of PERC on human health and the natural environment.

EPN Comments on Scope Documents for 20 High-Priority Substances

EPN submitted comments for the next set of 20 High-Priority chemicals under the reformed TSCA. In its comments, EPN cited concerns for individual scoping documents as well as ongoing issues with approaches taken in previous risk evaluations that put public health and the environment at risk.

Toxic Substances In The News

EPA Draws Competing Criticisms Over Draft TSCA Asbestos Analysis

June 5, 2020 / by

Diana DiGangi /

Inside EPA

EPN was mentioned in this article on the asbestos draft risk evaluation under the Toxic Substance Control Act.

Critics: EPA Ignores Dry Cleaning Solvent Risks

May 27, 2020 / by

Ariana Figueroa /

E&E News

EPN members Penny Fenner-Crisp, former Senior Science Advisor to the Director, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, and Gary Timm, former EPA Chief, Chemical Testing Branch, EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, were quoted in this article on the draft risk evaluation for perchloroethylene under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

EPA Advisers Focus on Consumer Exposures to Cleaning Solvent

May 26, 2020 / by

Pat Rizzuto /

Bloomberg

Bob Sussman, EPN member and former EPA Deputy Administrator, was quoted in this article on EPA’s draft risk evaluation for perchloroethylene under the Toxic Substance Control Act.

EPN’s Work on Particulate Matter

EPN Collaborates on Comments for EPA’s Proposal to Retain the Primary and Secondary Particulate Matter Standards

EPN, in collaboration with other environmental non-profit organizations, submitted comments on EPA's proposal to retain the current primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM). Establishing the NAAQS for PM is one of the most consequential actions EPA takes to protect the public's health and welfare. This proposal does not set standards at the levels the statute’s directive demands, and EPA should either reopen the process or finalize stronger revised standards.

EPN Presents Testimony on EPA’s Proposal to Retain the Primary and Secondary Particulate Matter Standards

John Bachmann, former Associate Director for Science/Policy and New Programs, EPA Air Office, presented testimony on behalf of EPN at an EPA virtual hearing on its proposal to retain the current primary and secondary Particulate Matter NAAQS. Despite current scientific evidence showing that the existing limits for fine particulates in the air need to be tightened to adequately protect public health, EPA has declined to use their legal authority to do so.

Particulate Matter In the News

Environmentalists, Industry Spar Over EPA Proposal to Retain PM NAAQS

May 22, 2020 / by

Stuart Parker /

Inside EPA

John Bachmann, EPN member and former Associate Director for Science/Policy and New Programs, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, was quoted in this article on EPA’s decision to not tighten Particulate Matter standards. John also was quoted in a similar article by Public News Service.

 

EPN’s Work on Guidance Documents, Censored Science, and Drinking Water


Guidance Documents, Censored Science and Drinking Water In The News

Doctors, Health Groups Bash Science Proposal

May 19, 2020 / by

Kelsey Brugger /

E&E News

Steve Silverman, EPN member and former Attorney, Office of General Counsel, was quoted in this article on EPA’s supplementary proposal to its “censored science” rule.

Buried Lead: How the EPA Has Left Americans Exposed to Lead in Drinking Water

May 4, 2020 / by

Lauren Rosenthal and Will Craft /

APM Reports

EPN members Jeff Cohen, former EPA Senior Manager, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Office of Air and Radiation; Mike Shapiro, former Deputy Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Water; and Betsy Southerland, former Director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water were quoted in this article on the Trump administration’s proposed rollback to the Lead and Copper Rule and how it will increase hazardous exposure to lead in drinking water.

Plan to Torpedo Nonbinding Guidance Docs Flies Under Radar

June 23, 2020 / by

Kelsey Brugger /

E&E News

George Wyeth, EPN member and former EPA attorney and policy analyst, was quoted in this article on a proposed EPA rule that would make it more difficult for the agency to issue guidance documents.

EPN’s Work on Economics & Collaborative Work on Protecting the Future of Science

EPN Member Presents Testimony on Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses

EPN member Roy Gamse, former EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Planning and Evaluation and Acting Assistant Administrator for Planning and Management, presented testimony on the importance of co-benefits during a public meeting of EPA's Science Advisory Board Economic Guidelines Review Panel on the "Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses."

EPN Member Op-Eds

EPN members penned their own op-eds on enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic and on water policies.

Santa Comes Early for Polluters

May 27, 2020 / by

Dave Coursen /

The Hill

David Coursen, EPN member and former EPA Office of General Counsel, penned this op-ed concerning an executive order that would continue to relax restrictions on polluters by easing the enforcement of the rules during the pandemic. 

Call on Science to Protect Wetlands Policy in a Changing Climate

June 5, 2020 / by

Jeff Peterson and Betsy Southerland /

The Hill

EPN members Jeff Peterson former Senior Policy Advisor, EPA Office of Water, and Betsy Southerland, former Director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water, published this op-ed on the lack of science used in the creation of water policies under the Trump administration.

More Examples of EPN in the News

In addition to the news articles above, EPN members contributed to a range of articles on topics such as ozone levels, the National Environmental Policy Act, science, cost-benefit analysis, the Clean Water Act, and Trump’s environmental waivers,

Traffic was Down in Phoenix, but Ozone Levels Remained Stubbornly High. What’s Happening?

June 12, 2020 / by

Erin Stone /

The Arizona Republic

John Bachmann, EPN member and former Associate Director for Science, Policy and New Programs, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, was quoted in this article on the rise of ground-level ozone in Phoenix despite a drop in automobile traffic.

‘Unexplored Territory.’ Trump Jumps Into Legal Limbo on NEPA

June 9, 2020 / by

Niina H. Farah and Jennifer Hijazi /

E&E News

Joel Mintz, EPN member and former EPA Enforcement and Supervisory Attorney, was quoted in this article on a recent executive order by President Trump that asks federal agencies to waive environmental reviews on infrastructure projects being built during the pandemic. Joel was quoted in similar articles by S&P Global, Utility Dive, the Inquisitr, The Architects Newspaper, the Global Government Forum, and Red Green & Blue.

How a Contrarian Scientist Helped Trump’s EPA Defy Mainstream Science

May 28, 2020 / by

Marianne Lavelle /

InsideClimate News

Bernard Goldstein, M.D., EPN member and former chair, EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and EPA Assistant Administrator for Research and Development, was quoted in this article regarding EPA’s combative relationship with mainstream science.


Tensions Flare Over Sluggish EPA Revamp of Cost-Benefit Rule

May 8, 2020 / by

Sean Reilly /

E&E News

Dan Costa, EPN member and former National Program Director, EPA Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program, was quoted in this article on EPA’s draft rule, which would overhaul its cost-benefit forecasting.

Legal Experts Question EPA’s Ability to Quickly Develop Maui Guidance

May 6, 2020 / by

Lara Beaven /

Inside EPA

Mark Ryan, EPN member and former EPA Regional Counsel, Region 10, was quoted in this article regarding EPA’s capacity to develop guidance based on the Supreme Court’s ruling against the administration’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act.

Pandemic Masks Further US Environmental Deregulation by Trump Administration

May 1, 2020 / by

Carolyn Fortuna /

CleanTechnica

Betsy Southerland, EPN member and former Director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water, was quoted in this article on the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Betsy was quoted in a similar article by Planetizen.

Read all recent EPN In the News items here